Janto was so poor he had to sell his refrigerator to pay medical bills before passing away penniless, yet his name is now on premium luxury car boutiques and fleets of private jets alike
This is the story of Jimmy Budhijanto, a prominent figure behind Indonesia’s luxury car industry along with many successful auto exhibitions and events. No, you will not find him on Instagram, nor LinkedIn, nor any social media in existence. Jimmy has been a puppet master working incognito with a nationwide influence and connections. He is an old school businessman who was never featured directly by any media, until now.
In his first ever private media interview, Jimmy reveals the story behind his lifelong success and his baby, Glamour Auto Boutique, his recent major transformation in embracing digital marketing, and the legacy he is building in honour of his grandfather, Janto.
What is the story behind the foundation of Glamour Auto Boutique?
My partner had to close down his business in 2001 but I did not—could not—stop doing what I was doing. In the following year, I supplied more than 60% of all cars coming from Australia to dealers in Indonesia. I brought in at least 80% of every Honda Odyssey on the streets of Indonesia between 2001 to 2003. However, I did not import or sell to end users until 2005, when I decided my network and influence was enough to sustain my own dealership, and that’s when Glamour Auto Boutique was established as one of the first luxury car boutiques in the country.
I understand you recently made a drastic change to embrace digital marketing. Could you tell us more about that story?
I did not believe in modern marketing. I’m an old fashioned guy and my business did not have a website, an Instagram page, and whatnot. I believed in a traditional network of repeat customers that I’ve built for decade with my own blood and sweat. In 2021, a friend and colleague told me about a new way of selling luxury cars: digital marketing. After many discussions, I was convinced to follow this route and went all in. I’m a do-or-die kind of person, I’m not into half-measures. Our marketing team currently stands at nearly 20 professionals, from just a single photographer in 2021. Strengthened by this new weapon, I took Ducati under my wing to diversify my portfolio in 2022. And now we have our own specialized luxury car photo studio and a showroom with a 5-star luxury feel, supported by a full complement of marketing team. All in-house. I’m not just trying digital marketing; I’m going in fully aggressive.
Considering this revolutionary transformation, what is your endgame?
My dream is to have the ultimate boys’ toys shop. When you go to my building you’ll find all the luxury toys any man could dream of. Everything worth having on wheels, from two-wheelers to four-wheelers, end-to-end to from import to aftersales, it is my dream to provide this.
What are some the latest, hottest items in your boys’ toys collection right now?
This here is the AMB001 motorcycle. You can see the spatial engineering, the futuristic design, and a special collaboration between Aston Martin and Brough. A special limited edition of only 100 units around the world, of which I managed to acquire three units, and they are all sold already. And I couldn’t even order anymore. I’m pre-ordering for the AMB001 Pro variant, limited at 88 units worldwide, but that’s for my personal collection. And for the cars, we bring in customised luxury car through privileged services like the Bespoke Rolls Royce, Ferrari Tailor Made, or Porsche Exclusive. That’s how you make the car your own. I love to personally design and customise the cars that I bring in myself.
Do elaborate more on how this design aspect is intertwined with the entire luxury car experience.
I have certain passion in designing the livery of each individual luxury cars. Involving myself in the finishing touches, like completing a jigsaw puzzle but with immaculate, brilliantly designed parts, gives me a certain delight like no other. What we saw just now in the basement studio, those are brand new editions of Rolls Royce and Ferraris with customised liveries. I treat every single one of these units as if they’re for my own collection and I designed them as such. That’s what I’m offering to the clients — a fully unique, fully customised luxury car that you won’t find anywhere else. They can even customise it further if the customer wishes it. It will take some time, but I don’t mind assisting them with this.
You obviously have a personal design advantage as part of the inner circle of multiple international luxury car communities. Would you mind telling us more about this?
I am a die-hard Ferrari enthusiast and collector. I do sell some, but my Ferraris are mostly reserved for my own personal collection. As for the inner circle, Ferrari invites collectors that have exceeded certain requirements as their VIP clients. The benefit of being a VIP client is the best experience in the world that you will not get anywhere else. The international club had an event last year in Monte Carlo and it was a limited 150 clients only. There were a lot of collectors like myself, a lot of “crazies”, and a lot of impressive cars on display. With each event and experience, I felt like my soul became more attuned to the luxury sensibilities that define the identity of the brand. It affects how I design my cars and how I treat every single unit.
Janto Aviation is another business unit in your portfolio. Tell us more about that and the reason you included your grandfather’s name.
Everything I do is about honouring my grandfather. I’m the only boy in the family. Janto was my grandfather’s name, whom I never met. He even had to sell his refrigerator to pay for his dialysis treatment. In the end, my grandfather passed away with nothing to his name. I refuse to have his memory amounted to nothing. I had to make my grandfather’s name known. This is my motivation, and naming my aviation business after him meant having his name all over the skies. Janto Aviation offers everything from private jet fleets, flight attendants, and pilots and soon we will have our own private jet licenses. This is how I honour my grandfather.
It can’t be easy juggling all of these responsibilities. What are some of the challenges you face?
On a professional level, the tricky part is getting everyone to work synchronously. I know individually, everyone on my team is an expert in their fields, but the hard part is getting everyone to work optimally as a team. I’m tackling this by rolling my sleeves and working alongside them. Just last Saturday we were loading some new units and I was there until 10PM, driving the cars myself positioning them in the studio and in the showroom. I have no problem leading by example. Personally, I’m not seeing my 9- and 5-year old girls as much as I want to. When you are building something great, sometimes you have to make sacrifices.
Words Refa Koetin